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Davis, California

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Guest opinion: Liron Feldman

The following is my reply to Zamir Thind’s response to Uri Fishelson’s letter. While this exchange might be seen as a lot of responding, I believe this is pivotal in having a civil, academic debate.

First of all, prefacing opinions with an apology not only diminishes the argument, but also does not make the issues less offensive. Secondly, taking a 10-week college course about a convoluted and controversial 100-plus-year-old issue does not legitimize Thind’s point.

In addition to comparing Judaic ideals to those of the Nazis, Thind calls for Jews to “get over” the Holocaust and stop using it as an excuse for “everything wrong with Israeli policies.” There is only one problem: we cannot get over it, nor should we get over it.

We “play” the “woe is me card” because we must inform people of what happened. We must ensure that those murdered during the Holocaust and World War II did not perish in vain. We are not complaining. We are educating.

If we get over it, should we also overlook Cambodia, Rwanda, Yugoslavia, Armenia, Darfur and the Sikh genocide? I hope that such atrocious events are never forgotten in history. And for that matter, why aren’t people complaining about the Sikh genocide? No awareness can be garnered if no attention is raised. Do people not care about the extermination of their own culture? I do. We do. That is why we talk about it, educate others about it and always remember it.

Thind argues that Nazis and Jews are similar because they want to preserve their race. But isn’t the goal of any group to try to preserve its culture, ideals and heritage? As far as I know, neither Jews (a religion) nor Nazis (a political party) were their own races. His linkage of the two puts them on the same scale, which is like saying that the unthinkable extermination of six million people is somehow equivalent to anything Israel has done.

Anti-Semitism is defined as a prejudice against or hostility toward Jews. I faced this here in Davis, as I was personally called a Nazi during the event mentioned in Fishelson’s letter. Besides being extremely hurt as I was equated to the murderer of my relatives, I was, quite frankly, disappointed that these views are still held in such an educated and progressive community.

No, I personally do not believe that being anti-Israel is the same as being anti-Semitic. There is a clear-cut distinction between being Jewish and agreeing with or opposing Israeli policies. Yes, I disagree with certain actions of the Israeli government, much like some people feel about the actions of their own countries. But if Thind wants to distinguish between anti-Israel and anti-Semitism, he should focus more on his primary thesis. He should avoid embarking on irrelevant tangents by comparing the Jews to the Nazis, the victims to the murderers.

9 COMMENTS

  1. http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/History/Nachshon.html Propaganda indeed. I am afraid I must depart from the conversation. My original response was to an Opinion section with my opinion. I respect all yours, but I guess I am a propagandist because I don’t side with you or because I choose to challenge or question these facts or even learn something from the ones you mentioned? I never declared I was an expert, but both Raul and Moshe assume that I believe this. Again, the response was in the Opinion section. Who knows? Maybe after more research my opinion will change. I have already pointed to some of the facts you both have claimed as valid. However, it seems useless to discuss a topic with people who refuse to admit when they are wrong on all grounds. Furthermore, it is pointless when they instead refer to any challenging opinion or fact as “myths” and “fabrications”. And no, Moshe I don’t know about Gush Etzion, but must I know everything before I form an opinion? I am more than willing to look at the information, but I can’t say the same for you two and I am sorry that this has to be this way.

  2. No Contour- it was a battle. A “stategic operation” in the middle of a war is a battle, and there is no need to play cheap rhetorical games.

    A first hand report:

    My unit stormed and passed the first row of houses. I was among the first to enter the village. There were a few other guys with me, each encouraging the other to advance. At the top of the street I saw a man in khaki clothing running ahead. I thought he was one of ours. I ran after him and told him, “advance to that house.” Suddenly he turned around, aimed his rifle and shot. He was an Iraqi soldier. I was hit in the foot.

    Uri Milstein, History of Israel’s War of Independence. Vol. IV, (Lanham: University Press of America. 1999.

    Hazam Nusseibi, who worked for the Palestine Broadcasting Service in 1948, admitted being told by Hussein Khalidi, a Palestinian Arab leader, to fabricate the atrocity claims. Abu Mahmud, a Deir Yassin resident in 1948 told Khalidi “there was no rape,” but Khalidi replied, “We have to say this, so the Arab armies will come to liberate Palestine from the Jews.” Nusseibeh told the BBC 50 years later, “This was our biggest mistake. We did not realize how our people would react.

  3. Since the Second Intifada there have been over 25,000 attacks by Palestinians on Israelis. Deir Yassin was in 1948, and, has been disputed as to whether it was a battle or as the Arab media called it,”a massacre”. It is however , un-disputed that both sides were armed. Recently, it was admitted that the occurrences were exagerated by the Arab media in order to inflame the situation. As it turns out, the exagerated reports frightened many Palestinians into leaving. The vast majority of Arabs that left Israel did so with ever seeing an Israeli soldier. The next day, the un-armed doctors and nurses of Haddassah were slaughtered by the Arab forces. It is significant,that Deir Yassin is the ONLY example that you can think of,and its VERY disputed. I’d be willing to be that you don’t know about Gush Etzion, etc etc. Its is very common that “anti-zionists” don’t really know anything about the Arab-Israeli conflict, the history,peoples, languages or cultures etc. except for that collection of politically inspired myths, fabrications and prevarications refered to as the “Palestinian narrative.”

    RfaelMoshe

  4. Raul, there is much evidence for massacres that occurred at Deir Yassin. It was not a battle in a war, but a strategic operation to free the roads to Jerusalem blocked by Arab forces. Officials even acknowledge this but say that any atrocities were committed by a third party. Do I consider what you said a crime? Yes, I do. You seem to think I promote any violence that is not initiated by Israel or Jews, which is simply not true. If you believe that there is no violation as to the settlements then I can’t help you there. You can believe it is “Nonsense”, but I don’t. What attack are you talking about when refering to “8,000 rocket attacks on its civilian population.” Are your talking about just recently. What is the conflict about then? It is about a myriad of things.

  5. Crimes such as Deir Yassin

    Deir Yassin was a battle in a war. It was not a crime. Compare it to the massacre of Jewish doctors and nurses and patients traveling in a hospital convoy- burnt alive by Arabs. Do you consider that a crime?

    and the continual expansion of settlements which are in direct violation of the UN.

    Nonsense. Israel has show a willingness over the years to give up land for peace, when it has a willing partner. The Sinai penninsula was 3 times bigger than Israel and had oil, and ISrael dismantled its settlemements there for peace.
    Israel also left Gaza for peace and instead of jumpstarting the peace process, what it got was 8,000 rocket attacks on its civilian population.
    This is not and has never been about “settlenments”

  6. Crimes such as Deir Yassin and the continual expansion of settlements which are in direct violation of the UN. I meant to respond to your other posts Moshe but they removed my response from the site. I remember you mentioned the supposed radio calls by the Arab high command to evacuate. There is actually no evidence of this. The BBC maintained all recordings of Arab airwaves and none of them contained anything remotely close. Also, I do not think this applies to every Jewish person and it is my mistake if that is what was perceived. You are absolutely correct that the Jewish people have been quite active in many humanitarian efforts because of the what they have been through. But when it comes to the region around Israel, it does not seem to be the same. Also, I am not condoning any crimes by Hamas or Hezbollah. The violence needs to be halted on both sides before progress can be made. I will take a look at “yad vasham” and get back to you. And I am also glad we can civilly discuss, not matter how much our opinions differ.

  7. Hello Mr. Thind,

    Now you have me curious, exactly what “crimes” are you accusing the entire Jewish people of, collectively? Its always an interesting indicator when someone generalizes in that manner about an entire people ,as if all Jewish people arround the world were in constant psychic communication and agreement on all things at all times. Perhaps as a consequence of the Holocaust or as a manifestation of Jewish ethics, Jewish people have been active in many, many humanitarian efforts, and genocide prevention. Perhaps the reason that your comments have been recieved with such sensitivity by Jewish commenters, because of the knowledge that the Holocaust truly began in Germany, decades earlier than it began physically, by means of de-humanizing, racist rhetoric and words about the Jewish people. Take a look at “Yad VaShem” and get back to me.

    RfaelMoshe

  8. First, I did not apologize for my words. Nor did I have the intention of apologizing. I merely prefaced my dialogue as to establish my own personal standing. If my article offends you, which I can see how it did, then that is how you perceived my words.

    Second, by mentioning the class I am taking, I by no means am indicating that I am an expert, merely that this subject is interesting to me because I am currently in the class.

    It seems that some misconstrue my point about “getting over it”. I clearly pointed out that this in reference to using it as an excused for Israel policies. Apparently people read only what they want to, rather than actually sitting back and understanding what I said. I recognize the history behind the Holocaust, and it was a tragic event. But again, it is using it as an excuse that causes a problem.

    As far as mentioning other genocides, these countries/peoples you mentioned are not justifying their current actions because of past history. The Jews are not being exterminated. Maybe at one point they were close, but that is not the current situation. As far as complaining, that reiterates my point. Why complain? That does nothing to prevent future situations. Creating awareness is one thing, complaining is another.

    As far as the Nazi and Jew comparison, again you failed to read what I said and rather read what you wanted to. Jews, are seen as more than just a religion of people, but a culture. Maybe I was wrong and saying that Jews are race, but culture they are. In fact the term genocide, specifically refers to ethnicity of a people. As far as the extermination of 6 million people, again you misread. I clearly stated that it was not on the same scale.

    I don’t agree with what happened at the event here in Davis it was more of the words of Uri Fisher then incited my response. I also believe it is possible to have a civil discussion.

    Again, because the Nazi point I made is bound to be negatively construed, you say the point is irrelevant. I respect your opinion, but I find I clearly relevant. Just as you stated about the other genocides, and like I stated, Jews are not the only victims, nor are they completely innocent of any crimes. Thanks for your response.

    -Zamir

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